5 Overlooked Email Sins

emails.jpgAuthor: Kat Boogaard
Source: The Daily Muse

By now, I’m going to assume that you’re well-versed in those email etiquette basics. You know, things like always including a subject line and resisting the temptation to CC every single warm body in your office.

Yes, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here. But, does that mean I think your messages are flawless? Absolutely not.

There are a few email sins that aren’t as oft-repeated—but are still just as cringe-worthy. And, chances are, you might just be guilty of committing them (hey, I’m right there with you!)—whether you were aware of it or not.

If you find yourself blushing at the mention of one of these faux pas? Well, my friend, your emails still have some room for improvement.

1. Playing “Hot Potato”

You pride yourself on being totally on top of your inbox—incoming messages never go long without a reply from you.

It’s great that you’re committed to being so responsive. But, it’s important that you also consider the quality of what you’re sending. Are your replies actually pushing the conversation forward? Or, are you firing off short (and perhaps even totally useless) messages in an effort to put the ball in the other person’s court and get yourself one step closer to that elusive inbox zero?

Oftentimes, people find that they’re falling into that latter category. Unfortunately, that frantic game of email hot potato is completely counterproductive.

How to Improve

I know the pressure to get back to people can be high, and I’m not trying to tell you to let messages linger unanswered.

Instead, if you’re not at a point where you can provide a high-quality response, send a short note stating that you’re looking into it and will get back with a more detailed answer as soon as you have it.

That step eliminates the pressure of needing to respond instantly, while still giving you time to devote adequate consideration to that message.

2. Showcasing Your Sense of Humor

Nobody wants to sound like a lifeless robot over email. And, trust me, I definitely appreciate those punny and off-the-wall notes that arrive in my inbox.

However, there’s no guarantee that other recipients will feel the same way. You need to remember that written messages lack the nonverbal and other context cues that typically help your humor to land.

So, it’s important to know your audience before peppering your email with what I’m sure is your stellar sense of humor. I’d be delighted with that great GIF of a dog in a party hat. Your board members? Maybe not so much.

How to Improve

Again, understanding your recipient is crucial here. But, if you feel even an inkling of doubt about how your funny joke or remark will be received, delete it.

You’re better off safe than sorry, and you can still be friendly and personable in your email—without the standup routine!

3. Rambling On and On

I know that this can seem like a fine line to walk. You hear so much chatter about those dreaded meetings that could’ve happened over email that it’s easy to feel pressured to avoid sit-downs at all costs.

But, this attempt to skip all face-to-face contact often results in some long-winded emails. Before you know it, you’ve cranked out a 3,000-word masterpiece that dives into ever single detail of that upcoming sales presentation. Spoiler alert: Nobody is going to read it.

How to Improve

Sometimes longer messages are unavoidable. In those cases, things like bullet points, short paragraphs, and subheads can help keep things organized and easy to digest.

But, considering that the ideal length is somewhere between 50 and 125 words, anything longer than that might warrant a meeting or a phone call.

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